Nothing is worse than having a wedding reception filled with seated guests who look tired and maybe a little bit bored. Maybe this wedding doesn't feature a DJ and rockin' music. Or maybe the crowd isn't into that whole dancing thing.
What to do? It's not that hard. There are a myriad of activities you can plan that will not only engage and entertain the guests, but also help them get to know each other and - most importantly - the bride and groom just a little bit better.
Here's one that's fun and might remind you just a little bit of a football game. Make a placard for each guest. On one side, letter "Bride" and on the other, "Groom". Someone, and if you have a DJ it can be him or her, or the best man or maid of honour, asks a series of questions. They might be simple, like "who was born in New York City"? Or they might be more complicated, such as "who, at 6, broke their leg when they were playing with their German shepherd puppy"?
Guests don't yell their answer, but rather show their placard, turning it to the "bride" side of they think the question pertains to the bride or to the "groom" side if it's the opposite. The guests' guesses can be revealing, but even more revealing, are the true answers. It's a great, fun way for everyone to get to know a little more about the bride and groom.
One word of caution about the above activity: Keep ex-boyfriends and ex-girlfriends out of the questions and don't ask anything that might be a little too revealing or too risqué. Remember, grandmothers and grandfathers and young children will likely be present!
If it's too much work to create signs for each person, you can create just two and create two teams - a team of men and a team of women. Grouped together, the teams can work together to decide on the answer and answer as a group. This "men versus women" concept is always popular and sure to be fun for everyone.
One silly game that's always a hit really puts the groom in the spotlight. How well does he know the feel and touch of his new wife? In this game, everyone finds out. You can do this several ways. You can enlist just the wedding party in this game, or as many of the wedding guests that want to participate.
Line each participant up and blindfold the groom. Put the bride somewhere in the mix, and send the groom on a hunt for his bride. The participants can either shake the groom's hand or give him a kiss on the cheek. In some versions, he might feel their hair or their leg. The details are up to you.
Depending on how far you want to take this game, you can add a fun element to it that is sometimes popular. You have the groom feel the leg of each participant. The best man, or other male member of the wedding party, rolls up his pant leg, puts on a garter and has the groom feel that. The groom has to kiss whoever he thinks is his bride, while still blindfolded. Often, he ends up kissing a man.
For an activity that allows the guests to be audience members instead of participants, consider the game of "feed me". In this game, the bride is seated and the groom is (again) blindfolded. He's given a piece of food and then spun around a few times so he's a little bit dizzy. Guided only by the helpful words of his new bride, he has to find her and get the piece of food into her mouth. Be sure to have the wedding party shadowing him so there are no accidents.
Once the groom has fed his new wife, the tables are turned and she is blindfolded and must find him.
A few notes about this activity: when feeding the bride, don't use wedding cake or a piece of bread with dip. In other words, don't use anything too messy. If the groom has a hard time finding her mouth, he might likely smear the food on the bride's face and that is something that won't make a bride - prettily made up just hours before - too happy.